Steele Sidebottom four match ban revealed |

| |

Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom has been hit with a four-match suspension after he and teammate Lynden Dunn allegedly breached the AFL’s coronavirus protocols on Saturday night.

Collingwood has already released a statement to announce the club is unhappy about the heavy suspension, despite the Magpies admitting Sidebottom and veteran defender Dunn broke the competition’s COVID-19 protocols following the round four loss to the Greater Western Sydney Giants in Sydney.

The AFL announced on Wednesday night Sidebottom will be sidelined for a month while Dunn has also been hit with a one-match ban following a league investigation into the alleged breaches.

The AFL said in a statement Sidebottom and Dunn will also receive further training on the league’s biosecurity protocols.

“Both Sidebottom and Dunn were sanctioned in respect of using an Uber (in breach of the Protocols) following a visit to teammate Jeremy Howe’s home on Saturday and Sidebottom was also sanctioned for subsequently visiting the home of a Collingwood staff member, such visit also being in breach of the Protocols,” the statement claimed.

Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Watch every match of every round Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

“Sidebottom has also been sanctioned in relation to his conduct following departure from the Collingwood staff member’s home in an intoxicated state that resulted in him being picked up by the Police and delivered home.”

Collingwood did not try and hide its anger at the significant suspension when it responded on Wednesday night.

“Collingwood and Sidebottom share the view that his four-match ban is excessive, inconsistent with recent protocol breaches and contestable,” the club said in a media release.

“However, club and player concluded that for the greater good of the game and the realities of our time it was necessary to end the matter.”

Collingwood head of football Geoff Walsh said in a statement the club had considered challenging the severity of the ban.

“To his credit, Steele considered what was in the best interests of the code and Collingwood,” Walsh said of the club’s consideration

“Firstly, he accepts that he made some poor decisions but he also feels it is the right thing to accept the punishment, a greater punishment than most believe is fair, to avoid a distraction that could create difficulties for the competition and his teammates. That’s the sort of person Steele is.

“As a club, we considered all options but our disappointment over Steele’s suspension is no greater than it is over the fact that two senior players breached the return to play protocols.

“Everyone knows Steele and Lynden started out with the best of intentions, to console an injured teammate, but our players and staff have been well educated on the protocols and we take our social responsibilities seriously.”

AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said: “The protocols have been clearly communicated, reviewed and accepted by all players across the league.

“The sanctions enforced in recent weeks should have been the reminder for everyone across the clubs, so we are disappointed to be having to deal with these breaches.

“We acknowledge both players’ remorse and cooperation with the investigation and recognise they reported the breaches to the club to ensure any risk could be mitigated.”

“Collingwood can confirm that players Steele Sidebottom and Lynden Dunn are under investigation for breaches of the AFL’s return to play protocols,” the statement read.

“Sidebottom and Dunn shared an Uber on Saturday evening and Sidebottom later visited a member of staff who is not living under the game’s protocols.

“The breaches were reported to the AFL on Sunday afternoon. The players were interviewed by the AFL yesterday.

“Sidebottom and Dunn will not be permitted to return to the Holden Centre until cleared to do so by COVID-19 testing.”

Sidebottom and Dunn visited injured teammate Jeremy Howe before taking an Uber — which is not allowed under the AFL’s strict guidelines — back to Dunn’s home.

Howe will undergo knee surgery after suffering a horrific injury during Friday’s two-point loss to the Giants, potentially ending his season.

Sidebottom is reported to have visited the home of part-time Collingwood employee Daniel Wells, who is not among the approved staff members players can be in contact with.

Channel 7 later revealed Sidebottom was driven home by police on Sunday morning. There is no suggestion he did anything wrong, and he has not been charged.

“Police officers located a 29-year-old man in Hanmer Street, Williamstown on Sunday morning 28 June just before 7.30am,” Victoria Police told Seven.

“He was not charged with any offence and after speaking to police was conveyed home.”

A witness told The Herald Sun Sidebottom was “partially naked” when he was spotted by police.

Foxsports.com.au reports police gave Sidebottom a lift home because his phone was dead, while Channel 7’s Tom Browne tweeted: “Sidebottom faces multiple weeks out. An Uber, two house visits, in the vicinity of Wells’ house until about 7.30am, police locating him in the street, out for 14-16 hours plus.”

SIDEBOTTOM ‘EMBARRASSED’, CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED

Speaking to reporters today, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said Sidebottom is “embarrassed” by the weekend’s events and can’t remember the exact details of what happened because he was drinking.

“What we understand was that decisions were made in support of Howie (Jeremy Howe) when we got back from GWS and then a few bad decisions were made beyond that and as a result breaching the AFL ‘Return To Play’ protocols,” Buckley said.

“He (Sidebottom) is quite embarrassed about the situation. He’s obviously remorseful about the decisions that were made, but he is also in some way confused about what has taken place.

“At some point, obviously, with his drinking he’s made some poor decisions, but his recollection isn’t that great.

“He hasn’t been drinking as regularly I suppose. In conversations with him, he probably hasn’t been consuming as much alcohol and one of the theories is that he wasn’t able to handle what he consumed at Howie’s place.

“In the end they’re all details that try to explain, in some way, what has happened in the evening or Steele’s understanding of it. He’s suitably embarrassed and very contrite, as you would understand.

“Steele obviously needed help to get home and in his recollection can’t remember a lot around what happened that evening. He ended up finding himself home earlier the next morning.”

Sidebottom and Dunn have tested negative for COVID-19.

“Lynden has had a second subsequent test and came back in to the club today,” Buckley said. “Steele awaits to hear when he can come back to the club.

“This is an event and not a pattern. We’re trying to support Steele through this.”

‘HE’S PUT A THREAT ON PEOPLE’S LIVELIHOODS’

Herald Sun chief AFLreporter Mark Robinson had “no sympathy” for Sidebottom, condemning the Collingwood co-vice captain for ignoring the COVID-19 restrictions.

“They shouldn’t have done that,” Robinson said on Fox Footy’s AFL 360.

“Steele Sidebottom has potentially put in jeopardy this $500 million season that we’re having. They’ve been lectured and lectured and lectured.

“Steele Sidebottom has put a threat on this game, and he’s put a threat on people’s livelihoods because he wanted to have a few beers, it looks like, with Daniel Wells.

“I want to have sympathy for him right now, but … I’ve got no sympathy if he’s going to have beers with Wells, which he’s not allowed to do.

“(AFL CEO) Gillon McLachlan will be furious, and there’s no dancing around this. He will be furious.

“We have Steele Sidebottom, a senior person, a mature adult, doing something that I can’t believe he would possibly say, ‘I didn’t know I couldn’t do (that)’. I can’t accept that.

“I hope Steele gets up tomorrow and addresses the community.”

Sidebottom was an All-Australian in 2018 and has been Collingwood’s co-vice captain since 2015. he has played 238 AFL games since his debut with the Pies in 2009.

After a 12-year stint with the Melbourne Demons, Dunn signed with Collingwood in 2017, and has represented the Pies on 31 occasions.

Port Adelaide midfielder Ollie Wines, Melbourne’s Charlie Spargo and Kysaiah Pickett, and Essendon’s Brandon Zerk-Thatcher and Conor McKenna previously copped one-week suspensions after breaking the AFL’s strict COVID-19 protocols.

If found guilty of the breaches, Sidebottom and Dunn would almost certainly receive one-match suspensions as well.

The Magpies are scheduled to take on the Essendon Bombers on Friday night at the MCG.

.

Previous

France bans TV commercial by e-bike startup Vanmoof

‘Barcelona’ fights a draw with ‘Atletico’ and starts to fall behind in the championship title

Next

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.